In his reelection campaign for Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Malcolm Kenyatta received an endorsement from the Service Employees International Union Pennsylvania State Council. The SEIU announced its first round of endorsements on Jan. 22 of this year. Kenyatta has had the support of the SEIU state council since he initially ran in the primary.
The SEIU is an organization that values the worth of workers and their services, and is devoted to ameliorating the lives of workers and their families.
“I am so proud to have this distinction from SEIU PA State Council,” Kenyatta said in an email. “I will continue fighting for poor and working people, and the right for workers to receive a living wage while standing up against harmful policy ideas like Pay-Check Protection and Right-to-Work.”
Kenyatta said that working to protect these rights is a keystone in his reelection campaign.
“My district is comprised largely of hardworking union men and women and it is my honor to go to Harrisburg and fight for them,” he said.
Kenyatta’s work fighting to increase the Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15 an hour and improve education as well as his advocacy for immigrants’ rights are some of the values that garnered him the endorsement from the SEIU.
“He’s really time and again been there with our members as they’ve been fighting every place [for] workers who are trying to fight their way out of poverty, said Gabe Morgan, president of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council and vice president of SEIU Local 32BJ. “Supporting him, to us, is just as obvious and easy thing to do as it could possibly be.”
Kenyatta is also the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to be elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and as such advocates for cultures of equality and inclusion. He spearheaded the diversity and inclusion initiatives for the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and has worked as a member for organizations including Equality PA and Liberty City Democratic Club.
As of late last year, Kenyatta is facing Democratic rival Charlotte Greer-Brown, former aid to state Rep. Curtis Thomas, Kenyatta’s forerunner.
A Facebook video captured Greer-Brown lauding her first endorsement from Sheriff-elect Rochelle Bilal, and asking for donations from a small crowd. However, when asked if she created a campaign account, Greer-Brown neglected to answer. Pennsylvania election code dictates that candidates must register their election committee within 20 days of amassing $250.
In deciding who to endorse, the SEIU state council members interview new candidates and administer surveys to keep track of their values and voting habits, Morgan said.
“Representative Kenyatta has a great record on all the progressive and worker issues that our union focuses on,” Morgan added. “Our members see him all the time at schools, they see him when they’re out working demonstrations to raise their wages and benefits – he’s there all the time. In his case, he’s a very active legislator. He works very hard.”